Lizzie Outside

A Paddleboarder’s quest for cleaner water.

Lizzie Carr goes the extra mile to get rid of plastic pollution.

In 2013, Lizzie Carr was working at a creative agency in London and living what she calls a fairly normal life. Then she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She had just turned 26. After an emergency thyroidectomy and radiotherapy, Carr went to her father’s house on the Isles of Scilly, off the UK’s southwest coast, to recuperate. There, she tried paddleboarding, hoping to regain her strength. Out on the water, she says, she experienced an unexpected peace of mind. She was hooked.

When she recovered, Carr found herself craving a larger purpose. Back in London, she took to the city’s many waterways to figure things out. As she paddled, she was disturbed by the ubiquitous plastic trash she encountered, and she could see the impact it was having on wildlife. (Once, she saw a bird’s nest made entirely of plastic.) Other people, she decided, needed to be aware of it too.

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